The Roots of Morality - a review

Stuart, S.A.J. (2010) The Roots of Morality - a review. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17(1-2), pp. 244-249. [Book Review]

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The Roots of Morality completes a trilogy of ‘Roots’ books, the other two being The Roots of Thinking (1990) and The Roots of Power (1994). In The Roots of Thinking Sheets-Johnstone investi- gates the origin of concepts, like our being sound makers and enumer- ators with a punctuated existence, in the living body and as part of the reciprocal relationship between hominid thinking and evolution. Each great insight at this foundational level, she argues, has its roots in the tactile-kinesthetic experience of the agent and not in some abstract, in-the-head, rational non-world-related conceptualisation. In The Roots of Power, subtitled ‘Animate Form and Gendered Bodies’, the author examines corporeal archetypes — for example, staring and averting eye contact — with respect to our phylogenetic heritage, and how they become transformed into cultural archetypes with respect to power and the patriarchal power relations of Western civilization. ‘[I]n corporeal matters of fact lie dimensions of ourselves that are at once both personal and political’ (p.1) whether they be our similarities or the roots of our differences. In The Roots of Morality her concern is with providing a foundationalist ethics grounded, once again, in the nature of human being; ‘Its guiding thesis is that a bona fide ethics rests on bona fide understandings of what it is to be human, and in consequence, on bona fide explorations of human experience, of the phylogenetic and ontogenetic heritages of humans, of the human psy- che, and of elemental facets of human existence.’ (2008, p. 1).

Item Type:Book Reviews
Keywords:Morality, Naturalism, Body, Consciousness
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stuart, Dr Susan
Authors: Stuart, S.A.J.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Journal Name:Journal of Consciousness Studies
Journal Abbr.:JCS
Publisher:Imprint Academic

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